Stephanie Gerling’s best friend “Hoss” weighs 1,275 pounds. You can call him grand champion.
The Chi-Angus steer won top honors at the 2014 Market Steer competition Thursday evening at the Washington Town and Country Fair.
Gerling, an 18-year-old from Berger, said she spent so much time working with her steer this summer that they became best friends.
“I was so happy he won I cried,” Gerling said after the show. “I knew he was special. I can make his tail wiggle when I rub him in his favorite spots.”
Hoss will be the first steer on the auction block at Saturday’s blue ribbon livestock auction which begins at noon.
All 53 steers in the competition received blue ribbons and will be eligible for the steer auction which grossed $170,725 last year. The average price paid per pound for steers at last year’s auction was $2.23.
Gerling is the daughter of Bryan and Diane Gerling and a member of the New Haven 4-H Club. She is a 2013 graduate of New Haven High School and is planning to start classes at East Central College in the fall. Eventually, she hopes to obtain an agriculture/business degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia.
This was the first time in eight years of exhibiting steers that Gerling’s animal won anything other than best in class. She said she saved the best for her last year showing livestock at the Fair.
Gerling said she planned to use the proceeds from the sale of her steer to pay for college and to pursue a career in agriculture.
“This is where I spend all my time,” Gerling said referring to the Fair’s livestock pens. “I don’t venture out too much from here. This is what I enjoy doing.”
Jessica Siedhoff exhibited the reserve champion. Her 1,220-pound Chi-Angus steer “Waylon” is actually the stepbrother of Hoss.
The winner’s circle is nothing new to the 17-year-old from New Haven. In her nine years of showing steers at the Fair, her animal has won grand or reserve champion five times. Her steer won grand champion three years in a row from 2010 through 2013, a feat Fair livestock officials say has never been done before.
Siedhoff said she knew she had a pretty good steer because this was her 10th competition exhibiting the animal and he had won breed champion a few times. But she said she was surprised he was named reserve champion because he finished second in his weight class.
“I like him,” she said after the show, “because he follows me around like a dog.”
Siedhoff is the daughter of Alan and Sheryl Siedhoff, New Haven. She is entering her senior year at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School and also is a member of the New Haven 4-H Club. She said she planned to use the money she received from the auction for college and to buy and raise a steer for next year’s livestock competition.
Showmanship winners were Andi Placht, New Haven, Senior Division; Joe Jasper, Krakow, Intermediate Dvision; and Adam Homeyer, New Haven, Junior Division.
Taking top honors in the bred and home raised steer portion of the competition was Cady Koch of Krakow.
Nathan Martin, Centralia, judged the steer competition as well as the hog show earlier in the day. The cattle farmer and veteran judge said he was impressed with the quality of the steers in this year’s competition.
“The quality was excellent,” Martin said after the show. “The kids understood and appreciated this was a terminal or market show. They understood this wasn’t a pretty hair contest but rather a beef show. I would take anyone of these steers home with me and put them in my freezer.”
Last year Andy Unerstall’s U Team purchased the grand champion steer for $4,847.50 or $3.50 per pound.